Few sites compare to the majestic Irazú Volcano National Park

Irazú Volcano Crater
Irazú Volcano Crater

Travelers with an eye for ecological diversity and unique landscapes have long traveled to Costa Rica to marvel at its golden Caribbean shores, its lush tropical rain forests and it's epic and impressive volcanoes - and few volcanoes have as grand a presence as the eponymous volcano of Irazú Volcano National Park.

Irazú Still Active

Irazú is an enormous and still active volcano located in the central expanse of the Central American country a short car or bus ride from the cities of Cartago and San Jose. The mountainous volcano has been dubbed El Coloso (The Colossus) by the locals, due to its historical role in numerous catastrophes. Notable among these is the nearly three years of eruptions that occurred during a visit from former President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Allegedly the eruptions began on the day President Kennedy arrived for a state visit and showered ash and molten rock on neighboring cities, clogged the air with smoke and wrought serious damage on the surrounding area until 1965.

Nowadays the volcano is more passive and, as a result, Irazú Volcano National Park has developed into a popular tourist destination for both local and international tourists interested in the unique geographical anomalies that have resulted from this volcanic activity. Of these, the most interesting and beautiful may be the Diego de la Haya lake. Located in one of Irazú Volcano National Park's massive craters, Diego de la Haya is a bright green volcanic lake named after the former Governor of Cartago, Diego de la Haya Fernández.

Irazú Volcano National Park

Travelers will find much to do in the park than just the volcano. Irazú Volcano National Park features a wealth of hiking and biking trails that will allow tourists to explore the beautiful and untamed natural beauty of the region. Trees within the surrounding forests have grown tall and strong thanks to the mineral-rich soil near the volcano, though the closer one gets to the tree lines, more gnarled and burnt the plants become until active craters still bustling with steam and fumaroles are all that can be seen.

While Irazú Volcano National Park may lack some of the biodiversity of Costa Rica's other national parks, there are some unique creatures specific to the regions surrounding the famous volcano. Bird species in particular have adapted to volcano life, with the Volcano Junco (a relative of the common American sparrow) and the Volcano Hummingbird both making their homes in the forests surrounding Irazú volcano.

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